Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 29

"It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes" (Psalm 119:71).
"I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me" (Psalm 119:75).
I can be honest with you, and with myself. I am a confirmed complainer. This is something I am working on, but it is a deep rooted habit. When times are hard, when I feel bad, I complain. The last few weeks have been challenging...or maybe it has been months, I'm not really sure anymore. Anyway, God has been asking some questions of me that I have been finding hard to answer. It is one thing to decide if I should wear a jacket or not when I go out of the house, it is another thing totally to make a decision that you know could affect your life for years to come. I wanted to just look up at the sky and whisper, "God, why? Couldn't You have just handled this alone? I trust Your judgement more then I do my own. I wish You had, I don't like this..." I caught myself. I was complaining. Again.
As I was reading through Psalm 119 today I came across these verses. How much I can learn from scripture if I am just willing to do so! Yes, sorting through difficult questions and making decisions isn't easy, but there are two reasons I should remember for not complaining. One, there are people I know who are going through things much more trying then what I'm going through. Two, I need to remind myself of these verses that say that affliction is good for me and that in God's faithfulness He afflicts us. I could call these situations growing pains.Through them I should pray that God will continue to grow me to be more like Him. And I should remember Paul's words. "In everything give thanks" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Thank you Lord for loving me enough to send You only Son to die for me. Thank You for second chances. Thank you for hard times that grow me closer to You. Lord, for everything that is going on, I thank You and ask that You will use it for Your good. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Day 28

"Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way" (Psalm 119: 37).

What worthless thing have I been looking at, longing for, consumed with? I imagine every single one of us could come up with at least one thing that we are paying too much attention to, so much so that it is pulling us away from the Lord. In the last few months I have come to realize how I've allowed friends and social media to become too important too me. I know I need to take a break, pull back, and take time to evaluate my heart. Why have I allowed even friends, which can undoubtedly be a good thing, to become so important as to pull me away from the things God has given to me to do? So my prayer is, "Revive me in Your way, O Lord. Draw me near to your heart. Give me the strength to do that which I have not the strength to do alone."

"With my whole heart I have sought you" (Psalm 119:10).

I want this to be true in my life! So much so that I can say in all honesty, "Lord, I have sought after you with my whole heart. You are my God and I love You more then all else. You are my Lord and I will praise You to the end of my days. I shall never cease to seek You as long as I shall live!"

With a prayer on my lips I begin this day, knowing the Lord will hear and answer.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 27 - Infatuating Distraction

I know, I am undoubtedly weird. When I read scriptures, I do not only see the verses in the context of the what is being said in each chapter and book, but I also see relationships between certain verses and my life that can be rather random at times. So, please bear with me and read this post.


"Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him" (Proverbs 30:5).

Have you ever been attraction to someone? No, honestly, have you ever met someone and just felt a spark? Not love, just an attraction? You can tell me that you have never felt attracted to someone of the opposite sex, but I probably won't believe you. (Yes, I can be stubborn like that sometimes.) Okay, so if you have ever been attracted to someone, then perhaps you have also wished for a shield, something to hide behind because do not want anyone to see your heart. You are struggling to guard you heart with all diligence,

"Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

but it can be so hard!

I was reading in Proverbs the other day and came across Proverbs 30:5 which talks about how God is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. I have also been re-reading Joshua Harris' I Kissed Dating Goodbye and when I read this verse my mind quickly connected the words "attraction" and "shield." If God is a shield to those who put their trust in Him, I thought, then when we feel unwanted attraction---make that distraction---then perhaps we should pray that God be our shield and hide us from the emotions that threaten to take over our sensibilities? Picture the proverbial princess and knight tale. The princess is in distress, the villain Attraction and his identical twin Distraction are trying to steal the princesses most precious jewel, and then picture a grand and shining knight riding in on his majestic white stallion and with his shield he holds the villains at bay protecting the princess' treasure.

Our hearts are the treasure, and Satan is the villain who throwing temptations and distractions our way trying to pull us further from God. When we cry out for help, the Lord hears our cry (Psalm 34:17) and puts out His shield to protect us.

Keeping our hearts with diligence is a never ending battle, and sometimes we wonder if giving in would be all that bad. If the person we are attracted to never knows, then what harm could a little dreaming about "what ifs" do? Have you ever been tempted by this thought? I know I have. So, what harm can it do? There are several ways it can be harmful, and those ways may very from person to person, but one thing remains true for everyone. When you are attracted, just face it, you are often distracted. Distracted as you carry out your daily duties, and most importantly distracted from your relationship with God. Ah, ah, I know what you were going to say. You were going to point out that every dating or courting, or for that matter, newly wed couple you know is distracted, and you were going to ask me if I thought that was a bad thing. Nuh-uh, we aren't going there. You see, attraction often leads to an unhealthy infatuation if dwelt upon too much, and infatuation in some cases is okay, but not when it is founded on your imagination alone. When two people are involved and the feeling is mutual and marriage is the intent of the couple involved, infatuation can be a good thing. But, like I said, infatuation that is one-sided usually is not healthy or good.

What is my point? Attraction will happen, and I don't intend to hide in a deep dark cave somewhere to avoid it, but I do have a plan. I am going to start praying that God will shield my heart. Not necessarily from attraction itself, but from infatuation and distraction. Let's face it. Alone we do not always have the sense nor will power to guard out hearts as diligently as we should. We need help. Instead of praying that trying situations go away, I am going to be praying that God will use these situations to grow me. I will pray for His protection and strength, for I need His shield.

So, you see, I often find strength and direction from Scripture in somewhat randomly wonderful ways. :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 26 - For My Friends

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).

My dear friends,

This is my prayer for each of you, that you may grow daily in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Some days I don't know what to pray for you. I feel that my own words are just rambling nothingness. And so, I pray this.

I am aware that each of my friends has their own challenges, and if you challenges are anything like mine, no matter of trying on your own strength is going to cut it. We can be so stubborn and so...welll....stupid. At least I know I can be. I try and try to do things on my own strength and become so stressed. I feel like giving up. Then God taps me on the shoulder and says, "Why don't you let Me help you?" Then there is one of those embarrassed, hide your face in the closet moments. "Uh...Father, I am SOOOOOOO foolish!!! Have I really been doing it again?" And so goes my life. I am so glad our Lord is a patient Father. I am so glad that He never gives up, but continues to patiently teach me.

Today I pray that God will give you strength for each challenge, peace for each trial, grace for each "Not again!" moment, knowledge and wisdom for each decision life brings your way, and love enough to make you smile thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis big.

To my friends (you know who you are!), I love you all!


Day 25

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

Have you ever known someone who was mean, hateful, and seemed to relish every chance to use the name of God in vain? Have you ever wished that they would just disappear and never blot the screen of your life again? Have you despise and turned your back? All we ever thought that person deserved, so we deserve plus so much more. We are all sinners deserving of nothing less then hell, yet God looks down at our dirty and debase lives and is not willing that a single one of us should perish. He calls each of us to repentance. Just think about it...

Day 24 - Bound Freedom

"For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage" (2 Peter 2: 18-19).

"For by whom a person is overcome by him also he is brought into bondage." If we are overcome by a man, a sinner, this picture looks very bleak, but when I read this verse I do not only hear the warning about corrupt men. I thought instead of how I want to be "overcome" by Him who died on the cross to save me. I want to be brought into bondage in Him. I want all that I am to be wholly His. I want to be a slave to Christ.

To be a slave is to be: "bound in servitude to a person or household as an instrument of labor. One who is submissive or subject to a specified person or influence" (The American Heritage Dictionary).

That is what I want to be. Bound in servitude to Jesus, an instrument of labor in His kingdom, submissive to Him in all things.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 23 - The Lord Rejoices Over You!

"The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).

The Lord rejoices over me with gladness, knowing what I am. I stand in silence. In awe of such great love!

"Silence is not a gap to be filled. It is the greatest of all preparations, and the climax of all adoration." ~ Anonymous

Day 22

"But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring destructive heresies, even denying the Lord" (2 Peter 2:1).

This verse served as a reminder of why I need to spend more time in God's Word. As Christians, we need to know the truth so that we are not fooled by the lies of false prophets. Over the last year or so I have really come to see how important it is to know what you believe and why you believe it. I want what I believe to be in direct accordance to what my Lord teaches in His Word, so obviously I need to know what His Word says. That is one of many reasons why I started this challenge.

What are some of your favorite methods of reading through the Bible? Do you like to start at the beginning and work your way through? Or maybe you read one of those plans that help you read the Bible in a year. The ones where you read a little from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs each day? Or perhaps you are doing like I am at the moment and reading the books you wish to study the most first and in a seemly random order. :) Whatever your choice method is, I pray that you are picking up your Bible and diligently studying it each and every day!

"The best preparation you can make for your life, something that God will use greatly as you interact with others on a daily basis, is the study of His Word. All truth and wisdom lies therein."
~ Anonymous

Day 21

"God helps them to overcome, causes them to have victory even when it doesn't seem as if they could."

I found this note in my devotional journal. There is no indication of why I wrote it there. I don't know if it is something I read, or if it was something I wrote in relation to something I was going to at the time, but it seemed so perfect for today.

I've been really struggling to guard my heart lately. Thoughts keep creeping in that are distracting me from keeping my focus on my Father. I have felt so helplessly weak to stand against them even when I know they are pulling me away from the very One I want to draw closer too. I have not even been able to focus on reading God's Word. When I came across these scribbled thoughts I was reminded of 2 Peter 2:9, "The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations." And, 1 Corinthians 15:57: "But thanks be to God, who gives us victory though our Lord Jesus Christ." God will deliver me from the temptation to put any thought above Him in my heart. He will give me victory. He will be the strength I need in my weakness ("My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9).

My God is good!